Personal protective equipment (PPE) is mandatory when working with dangerous power tools in the workplace; however, when we’re doing ‘odd jobs’ at home or on the farm, many of us fail to ensure we are adequately protected.
Unfortunately, though, accidents happen. In fact, according to the UIA (The Encyclopaedia of World Problems & Human Potential), accidents in the home account for a large proportion of accidental deaths and accidents in general, and are one of the three leading causes of death in many countries.
“Somehow, when we’re at home, doing maintenance or odd jobs or even pursuing a hobby that involves power tools, safety considerations tend to go out the window,” says Charles Henderson, business development manager for Husqvarna South Africa. “Yet, that’s when it’s the most necessary, which is why Husqvarna has focused on making comfortable, affordable protective equipment that is easily available so that there is no need for regret afterward, should an incident occur.”
The difference between a minor scrape and a major injury or even worse, death, is protective gear. So, what kind of PPE should be sitting in your workshop alongside your tools? Henderson gives his expert advice:
What should you have: Visors, goggles or glasses to ensure effective visibility and complete eye safety.
Why do you need it: Eyes are probably the most commonly injured part of our body and also the most difficult to repair.
When do you need it: Whenever there is a risk of anything becoming airborne like chippings, grass or grindings.
2. Hearing protection
What should you have: Ergonomic earphones designed for optimal comfort, protection and prolonged use and available as individual hearing protectors or visor/hearing protector combo.
Why do you need it: Hearing damage often manifests later in life as tinnitus or even deafness, and can be debilitating.
When do you need it: When exposed to noise that equals or exceeds 85dBA as an 8-hour TWA (time-weighted average).
3. Hand protection
What should you have: Comfortable gloves designed for hand protection, comfort, safety and functionality.
Why do you need them: Your hands are closest to the ‘action’ as well as being your permanent onboard ‘tools’ so they need adequate protection.
When do you need them: Along with eye protection, gloves should be your primary safety accessory, to be worn whenever handling power tools.
What should you have: A pair of high-quality, comfortable boots (either in leather or rubber) that protect your feet and stand up to the many challenges of outdoor work. Steel toe-cap boots (preferably with saw protection) are recommended for chainsaw use.
Why do you need them: Gravity ensures everything dropped is a potential foot hazard.
When do you need them: Whenever handling particularly heavy items or when operating foot-height blades such as lawnmowers and brush-cutters.
5. Head protection
What should you have: A high-quality helmet, equipped with hearing protection and visor is ideal, but you can settle for a good old-fashioned helmet too.
Why do you need one: Life-changing head injuries are to be avoided at all costs.
When do you need it: When working under overhead activity (especially when chopping down a tree) and where there’s a risk of heavy, airborne materials.
6. Chainsaw protective pants
What should you have: Chainsaw pants with sprocket clogging material that protect you while using a chainsaw.
Why do you need them: To prevent leg injuries.
When do you need it: Whenever one is operating a chainsaw.
7. Workwear clothing
What should you have: Depending on the job at hand, you will need protective clothing that allows you to be agile, without compromising on safety.
Why do you need it: To prevent injuries to torsos, arms and legs.
When do you need it: Regardless of whether you are mowing the lawn, trimming hedges or using a brush-cutter, you should always have protective workwear on.
Ever since the early 1950s, when the first logger replaced his cap with a helmet, the purpose of protective equipment has been to prevent injuries, whether at work or home or on the farm.
“Husqvarna’s wide range of personal protective clothing and equipment is designed with the same attention to detail as our power tools. With over 300 years of Swedish craftsmanship, we know exactly what is required to ensure your safety when using our products,” Henderson concludes.